In a week where he needed one, Knicks president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh got a win.
The Knicks have hired former Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien as their director of pro personnel, the team announced Saturday. Since he was expected to be hired as a consultant so this is a much more entrenched position within the organization. Where he now fits exactly in the Knicks front office hierarchy with assistant GM Allen Houston is unclear, but he is not just on the periphery.
Officially he will report to Walsh (the de facto GM) and will work primarily on the draft and scouting, but he will also have a role in personnel decisions. Warkentien comes from Denver where he helped trade Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups among other moves. Warkentien’s reputation is as a guy who can find talent deep in the draft and someone who has good ties to players overseas.
Oh, by the way, Warkentien has a good relationship with Carmelo Anthony and his people. That doesn’t hurt.
With rumors floating around that Knicks owner James Dolan may not pick up the extension on Walsh’s contract (he has until April 30), having two trusted soldiers in Houston and Warkentien in the front office means some kind of continuity of decisions should remain in place if Walsh is allowed to walk. That is why this is a win for Walsh. (Although you could argue this gives Dolan more leverage to move Walsh out because others are there. Go ahead and argue it if you want, I prefer not to try to think like Dolan. It gives me a headache.)
Don’t look for Danny Ferry, currently an advisor to the front office, to take over in any shakeup, sources say.
I’m skeptical. Nobody wants to acknowledge an internal coup before it’s executed. Doing so would create a terrible workplace environment until it happens or if it doesn’t.
The Pelicans’ ownership situation makes this a little more tricky. There’s an apparent desire in New Orleans to win quickly for an aging Benson, and that directive has limited Demps’ flexibility.
Still, Demps’ plans have mostly busted. Eventually, he’ll run out of chances to try new ones.
If that happens soon, when the Pelicans search for a replacement, Ferry will be right there with an impressive record building up Atlanta and no stains that make him unhirable to New Orleans. Would the Pelicans, who thought enough of him to hire him once already, really not consider promoting him?
Report: Potential top-10 pick, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, undergoes season-ending knee surgery
Indiana Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby will undergo right knee surgery and miss the rest of the NCAA season, sources told The Vertical.
The 6-foot-8 small forward is a versatile defender. He has grown as a shooter, and there’s hope he could become a 3-and-D player – or, given his athleticism, maybe more.
Anunoby wasn’t in the top tier of prospects in a loaded 2017 NBA draft, but he was headed toward the lottery, maybe even the top 10. How he recovers from this injury will factor significantly into his draft stock now.
On the bright side, this is less opportunity for scouts to pick apart his raw offense (though it’s also less opportunity for Anunoby to develop).
NBA: Mavericks got away with key late foul in win over Bulls
Curry (DAL) clamps the arm of Lopez (CHI) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.
A correct call would’ve put Dallas in the penalty and sent Lopez – who has made 66% of his free throws this season and and 76% for his career – to the line for two attempts.
Instead, not only was Lopez denied his free throws, he committed a frustration foul on Dirk Nowitzki – who grabbed the rebound with help of Curry – moments later. Nowitzki converted one of two free throws.
We’ll never know how the rest of the game would’ve played out after a correct call, but a swing of 1-to-3 points is pretty big in a one-point game.